Food, family and community are something I know well. I am a small town girl who was raised on the prairies of Canada. I was surrounded by agriculture and community and through this I came to understand the power of food and how it can bring family and community together.
Some of my fondest memories are of dinners at my childhood home, on the farm. These dinners were a time when family and friends would gather and their laughter and conversation would cascade throughout the house. Extending the dining table was a norm in our home, the piano bench always doubled as a seat for kids to squish onto to make more room at the table.
There was always room for more; our parents taught us to celebrate, to gather and to simply love life in these moments. It was during these times that I realised food truly does bring people together and it tastes better when it’s shared.
Another memory this country girl holds dear is something Canadians call ‘Fowl Suppers’. These suppers are held in the Fall/Autumn in community halls and church basements all around Canada. Fowl Suppers are a celebration of harvest, family and community. I have loved these dinners my entire life and, in fact, having lived away from Canada for most of my adult life, this is something I have missed.
These dinners celebrated the cultural diversity that the Prairies offered. Cabbage Rolls made by some of the strongest German women I had ever seen. Perogies served up by the cuddly Polish grandmas in our community. Turkey’s roasting, potatoes were boiling and being smashed, riced and roasted. And then, there were the desserts and they were always PIES. Oh, the variety of pies. As a young girl, I remember trying all of them but always remaining faithful to my first love…. Pumpkin Pie that was smothered in whip cream. Needless to say, these community dinners have been defining in my life.
Community, family and food centre and inspire me. I love seeing people come together to commune.
I know food well. In fact, I know food from farm to table. Growing up on a farm you are put to work at an early age. Some of my earliest tasks involved jobs like butchering day. Yes, although it sounds rough, it’s real. Each year, we would butcher our chickens and get them cleaned up and ready to freeze to eat throughout our cold winters. Additionally, we were known for our succulent lamb. The Taylor Stock Farm (the name of our family farm) was home to a flock of sheep that usually found their way to our dining table and the tables of friends and families. Of course, their path to the table was paved by my brothers, my sister, my father and I. We were all intricately involved in the preparation of these beautiful creatures. In fact, this effort was the way we made pocket money as teens. Who knew that work on a farm and learning these skills would travel through life like it has.
Needless to say, there are some funny stories that have been shared over the years. Ones that bring considerable joy to our parties when ever gather.
I also remember hours spent in the garden, weeding, and gathering. Shelling peas for hours on our back verandah in the cool part of the afternoon or sitting in the garden and eating carrots straight from the ground washed down with a drink from the hose. Then there was picking our famous Saskatoon berries with my aunts and cousins. Oh, the memories and the deep respect and love of food.
As I look back at my life, I am amazed at the incredible people who have helped shape and form this love and passion for me. My maternal grandmother was an extraordinary baker and holidays were always filled with her treats. At Easter, she would make Melting Moment Birds Nests (melting moments in the shape of a nest with Jelly Beans in them). I have yet to find a Melting Moment that compares to her luxurious creation. Cakes, cookies, puddings, she made them all with ease and love. How I miss her warm cuddles, late night conversations and custard pudding. My Paternal Grandmother or Nana as we called her perfected a gravy that enhanced any meal. Her lemon squares hardly saw the light of day as they were scoffed down, usually before she had finished cutting them. And, they were always sprinkled with the exact number of coconut shavings.
My mother has always pushed boundaries in the kitchen. She always had the table set; we always ate together. Never would my mum allow a pot on the table, everything was served in proper bowls and presented beautifully. From baking her famous bread to her gifts of food at Christmas, to our farm raised lamb, goat, rabbit or beef. My mother lovingly prepared meals that can dazzle any palate. I remember that it was baking with her that I learned to count. When I was still at home, before Kindergarten, my mum would let me bake with her. And, instead of using the mixer, she would ask me to count 100 stirs clockwise and 100 stirs counterclockwise. I’m sure it was also a way to keep my active mind busy, giving her a much-needed break. Whatever her motive, with every stir and lick of the bowl she was investing her love of cooking and gathering of people with me.
My Aunts all cooked beautifully. One of my Aunts could dance circles around the likes of Martha Stewart, she is one of the most creative people I have known.
My young years coupled with that of my early adult years which, for the most part, were spent in Hong Kong and throughout Asia all proved to enhance this deep love and appreciation for food. Meeting my husband opened my world to another food explosion. Philip is Korean and a right FOODIE. His love for food has opened my world even further, allowing me the opportunity to explore cultures and cuisine.
I understand food and I know people. I am a natural gatherer and I find great joy in bringing people together to commune which builds community. I am grateful for the experiences in life that I have had, the places I’ve been, the food I’ve enjoyed and most of all the people I’ve met. I find peace when bellies are filled and when hearts connect over a dining table.
It is from this place that I have started creating products that serve to enhance this experience. I understand that not everyone finds food, cooking and creating in the kitchen enjoyable. I’ve heard the stress people have when it comes to opening their home and inviting people in. So, here is your invitation to engage with #CasadeSohn. Within these pages, you will find ‘tried and true’ recipes and products that make our life work. All the photos are directly from my Instagram and are not ‘staged’ rather, they are ‘here’s what’s for dinner tonight’ photos. Also, we will include things we love and things we use.
My hope is that you will connect, engage and find inspiration.